Occupational exposure to ultraviolet radiation: a health risk assessment

Rev Environ Health. 1999 Oct-Dec;14(4):187-209. doi: 10.1515/reveh.1999.14.4.187.


This review applies health risk assessment methodology to the subject of occupational exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UVR). Ultraviolet radiation is produced by many sources, and for most people the sun is their main source of exposure. In the occupational environment, there are also many artificial sources, of which welding arcs are the predominant and most intense. Adverse health effects include photokeratitis, erythema, pterygium, some types of cataract, non-melanocytic skin cancer, and malignant melanoma. Outdoor workers and workers who are exposed to certain artificial sources (particularly welding arcs), frequently are exposed to UVR levels that are above the current exposure limits. Such workers may also be at an additional risk of developing nonmelanocytic skin cancer along with other chronic conditions, including malignant melanoma. A range of control measures is available but nevertheless, many workers (particularly those exposed to solar UVR) do not make full use of these measures. Therefore, the implementation of health education campaigns and other initiatives that encourage use are needed. Overall, although exposure to UVR presents a substantial risk for certain occupations, the current exposure standards and currently available control measures (if used) are considered to provide adequate protection for most workers.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Eye / radiation effects
  • Humans
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology
  • Occupational Exposure*
  • Risk Assessment*
  • Skin / radiation effects
  • Sunlight
  • Ultraviolet Rays / adverse effects*